Campus community members honored for improving cross-cultural understanding

Published: Nov. 14, 2016

Satya Peram

Satya Peram holds vegetables grown in the Westend Community Garden.

Satya Peram enjoys connecting students from different cultures through food.  

As the organizer of the international cooking club, Peram, who is from India, created opportunities for CU Boulder’s international students to connect and learn about each other’s cultures and traditional foods. In addition, the Athens Court resident manager at Graduate & Family Housing, initiated and oversaw an effort to add 30 garden plots to the Westend Community Garden and created a farm-to-table harvest event.

Because of his efforts, Peram will be awarded the Office of International Education’s 2016 Global Citizen of the Year award. He will be honored, along with three CU Boulder students, at the Global Citizen Awards reception, which happens from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Nov. 16, at the Center for Community JD Abrams Lounge. The event, which honors “outstanding contributions to international understanding,” coincides with International Education Week.

“You are simply a gardener when you are working in a garden,” Peram says. “Race, color, origin–all the things that divide us–dissolve. I plan to continue building more bridges between these amazing cultures and bringing more love, compassion and peace.”

Janet Garcia, Marie Cox and Mark Holsclaw, who together manage the Global Citizens Awards, say that because of Satya’s work the number and diversity of residents who reach across differences to create deeper connections has significantly increased.

“What stands out is Satya’s belief that we are more whole when we connect with each other and learn about, appreciate and celebrate our diverse learning community,” Satya’s nominators stated.

 

Study Abroad Student of the Year

When Austin Riley volunteered with Engineers without Borders, his efforts kept the project moving. A neighboring Peruvian community opposed a water pipeline and halted its construction, and the CU Boulder civil engineering student mediated; his actions preserved the university chapter’s relationship with the region. 

Austin Riley stands in his CU football shirt in front of the shoreline in Spain.

Austin Riley takes a break in Cabo de Gata Park on the coast of Spain during his Fall 2015 CU Boulder study abroad program at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

For this and other reasons Riley, a senior, will receive the Study Abroad Student of the Year award.

“I am so grateful towards CU Boulder Study Abroad for helping me gain a global perspective to my engineering education,” Riley says. “Since my study abroad experiences mean so much to me, I am honored and grateful for this nomination and award.”

Garcia said that Riley has consistently established long-term personal connections that transcend international boundaries.

“Through his consistent commitment to intercultural connection, Austin has enriched CU, Boulder and the myriad places he has traveled, as well as helped develop a global state of mind in those around him,” his nominators say.

 

 

 

2016 Muneeb Kamal International Students of the Year

Khalid AlAwadhi and Muntadher AlZayer will both be awarded the 2016 Muneeb Kamal International Student of the Year award.

Khalid

Khalid AlAwadhi is passionate about helping international students find their place at CU Boulder.

“This award tells me I am on the right track towards creating a more inclusive campus for all,” says Khalid AlAwadhi, who is from the United Arab Emirates. “I am very passionate about helping international students find their place at CU and experience the Buff spirit.”

AlAwadhi, a junior electrical and computer engineering major, is president of CU International, a Boulder campus organization that helps international students adjust to campus life.

Garcia said AlAwadhi is well known for his welcoming demeanor and enthusiasm.

“Khalid is driven by his commitment to make CU Boulder a better learning experience for all international students,” his nominators say. “The personal connections he has built have truly made a difference for the experience of hundreds of students on campus by building bridges and connecting cultures.” 

Muntadher AlZayer, a student from Saudi Arabia, made a positive impact on hundreds of students, staff and faculty members at CU Boulder through his work as vice president of Project Nur, a student-led initiative that organizes events and speakers with the goal of cultivating an environment of acceptance and mutual respect between Muslims and all communities.

A portrait of Muntadher AlZayer in a white dress shirt.

Muntadher AlZayer made a positive impact through his work as vice president of Project Nur, a student-led initiative that cultivates an environment of acceptance and mutual respect between Muslims and all communities.

"This award is a major recognition from the university that our events do have an impact on the student body and staff on campus,” AlZayer says. “It shows that Project Nur is making a difference, but there is still more to do.”

The computer science junior is working on a partnership with the Cultural Unity & Engagement Center to host an event in January focused on supporting Muslim students on campus and debunking some of the myths surrounding Islam.

“Munta’s leadership skills, positive attitude, kindness and aptitude for communication are key to the group’s initiatives to promote understanding through education,” his nominators say. “During his time at CU Boulder, Munta has made outstanding contributions to international understanding and community awareness of global issues.”

If you go:

What: Office of International Education’s Global Citizen Awards

Where: JD Abrams Lounge, Center for Community

When: Nov. 16 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Who: Open to all

Etc.: Schedule and more information for the 2016 International Education Week, Nov. 14-18. International Education Week celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange.